How getting strategic with social helped build Malaysia’s number one telco brand.

monthly mobile internet pass sales
iPhone contracts sold in a month
from 75 to 18 in Malaysia’s 100 Leading Graduate Employers rankings
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The Malaysian telco market is like any other: fast moving, fiercely competitive, and plagued by price promotion and customer churn. As one of the leading brands in the category, Maxis combed the landscape constantly, seeking out trends and territories that offered ground for building an advantage.

Maxis identified social media as a strategic opportunity space. While it was crowded with rival activity, most of it was low grade and undifferentiated. So Maxis engaged GrowthOps to help explore the strategic possibilities.

Maxis identified social media as a strategic opportunity space. While it was crowded with rival activity, most of it was low grade and undifferentiated.


Our strategists posed a provocative framing question: suppose social channels were all Maxis had to work with? And they had to deliver serious business results and advance strategic objectives? What would we do?

The answer was clear. We would apply the highest levels of strategy and creativity to harness social as a direct driver of customer acquisition and sales, brand engagement, and corporate reputation.

Building on this reframing of social as a serious space, we developed a series of social-first campaigns that cut across multiple segments, products and occasions. Here are some examples.

Maxis Midnight Express

A new iPhone model launch heralds massive potential opportunity for a telco provider. But Apple’s famously restrictive guidelines make it almost impossible for any one brand to craft a differentiated offering. How could we play by the rules and still gain an unfair advantage?

As we analysed social sentiment on the impending launch across Malaysia, we were surprised to discover a thread of negativity running through the excited anticipation. Consumers expressed a dread of crowds, queues and stock shortages.

So instead of paid advertising, our strategists suggested deploying volunteer Maxis employees to personally hand deliver pre-ordered iPhones at the stroke of midnight. The employees documented the process on social channels, and encouraged happy customers to upload their “iPhone Midnight Selfies”. The resulting coverage and social conversation helped fuel record Maxis sales for the new model.

Maxis Screen Savour

After a year of development, Maxis’ new online store was scheduled to go live on April 1 to coincide with the introduction of Malaysia’s new Goods & Sales Tax. Our challenge was to launch the store with a modest budget and without any dealer support.

We needed to harness some borrowed interest, and the calendar obliged. We would promote the store on the back of an April Fool’s Day prank. Malaysians love food and they love sharing pictures of it on their social networks. So we introduced the ‘Maxis Screen Savour’, a lickable screen protector that lets you taste any food displayed on your phone.

Product videos explaining the science behind the innovation were seeded across all social platforms. Interest and sharing snowballed. Thousands of curious consumers clicked through to register their interest, and the new online store was off to a flying start.

Maxis Hotlink Mi Pass

To increase sales and credit top-ups for Maxis mobile internet passes, we devised a solution that seamlessly integrated user incentives with the top-up experience. Inspired by the timeless Battleship mechanic, we created a simple game where users searched all over Malaysia for Tompok’s (the Maxis brand avatar) lost stash of gadgets. All you had to do was pin it to win it, using a Google Maps overlay. We utilised first party data to target existing customers, and dropped clues on social channels to help users zero in on the incentives.


Following a wave of leadership changes and re-organisations, Maxis’ employee engagement scores fell to an all-time low. The brand also dropped 38 places in Malaysia’s 100 Leading Graduate Employers index, making it harder to attract top talent.

Of course, beneath the headline numbers, many good things were still happening. So we proposed leveraging employee conversations to refresh Maxis’ employer brand, using social to amplify messaging about positive aspects of #LIfeAtMaxis.

We changed company policy to encourage social media bragging and created a bank of shareable content. Weaponised like this, Maxis employees stepped up to great effect as LinkedIn ambassadors for the brand and evangelists to future employees. And because attitudes often shift to align with actions, employee satisfaction levels improved as well.

Maxis Merdeka

Malaysia is a multi-racial, multi-cultural, and multi-religion country. And Merdeka is Malaysia’s Independence Day, where everyone celebrates together regardless of background or group identity. As the country’s leading telco, Maxis felt it was incumbent on the brand to make a constructive contribution to the national conversation on diversity, one that aligned with the brand’s values and customer promise.

Social media is forum that can lend itself to ‘us vs them’ conversations and divisions. We wanted to foster unity. Building on the insight that in Malaysia, our families are often bigger than we think, we created a beautiful, shareable web film “It’s OK, we’re family”. Widely shared on social media, the content reminded all Malaysians that there was only “Us”. And it placed the Maxis brand in an authentic, relevant context.

We truly appreciate the contribution from the GrowthOps team, in particular their proactive approach, strategic advice, and ability to respond quickly. These qualities are so necessary in today’s digital world.

Cheong Mei Foong

Head of Brand, Maxis Communications

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